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First trip to Iceland!

Hello!! I hope you don’t mind a lot of questions!
My 2 best friends and I are leaving the husbands home and planning a retirement trip for July 2024. We will be 66/67 years old. We are all in good health and pretty decent shape. We all agreed we’d rather not rent a car. We will make Reykjavik our home base and do day tours. We are ok with long days.
We want to do tours of the Golden Circle, the South Coast and Snaefellsnes. We’d like to do the Blue Lagoon followed by dinner there. We would probably like to do Sky Lagoon. We want to see the puffins. And I’d love doing an easy glacier hike.
Your Day Tours has a tour of the Golden Circle and Hvammsvík Hot Springs that sounds interesting. I’d love incorporating the hot springs into that day. The same company has a tour of the South Coast that includes seeing the puffins.
Does anyone have recommendations of the best day tour companies or a specific tour they liked?
Any ideas for an easy glacier hike?
We all love the water. Any boat rides that aren’t fishing or whale watching?
Any idea when to fit in Sky Lagoon?
We will be staying 7 nights. We are arriving from the Eastern US so will likely be there early AM. Any itinerary thoughts?
Any and all suggestions will be welcome and appreciated!

Posted by
721 posts

Is there any reason why you want to stay in Reykjavik and do day tours? That means that you'll be backtracking at the end of every day. Why not look at booking a two or three day tour of the south coast?

Tour companies mentioned frequently are Arctic Adventures, Troll Expeditions, and Nordic Adventures. TripAdvisor Iceland forum is very active. I suggest you also go there for more information.

Posted by
7566 posts

We recently rented a car for those three areas, but I found the long drives between sights to be very tedious. We also don't like to change hotels every night, which is common in Iceland. So I support the tour company idea, especially a multiday tour. Some people think that only losers take packaged tours, but the distances and limited hotel room numbers make that idea wrong in Iceland. Packing for rain and wind is necessary in July. No Northern Lights with 23 hours of daylight. Look for my Trip Report in a week or so.

Posted by
2242 posts

I would only stay in Reykjavik for your arrival day and possibly your last. After that take multi day tours. The south coast is wonderful, as is Snaefellsness. This is pretty much the standard when someone only has a week.

We really like for tours. The first time we used them was for a 2 day south coast tour, but weather turned that into a 1 day tour. The way Troll handled that was absolutely perfect with communication and how they changed things at the very last minute. They also processed the refund for the second day immediately. I was so impressed with how they handled that, that we used them again on another trip (just a day excursion) and were very pleased again.

Sky Lagoon is in Reykjavik, but not walkable from the city center really. It is about a 10-15 minute drive from the heart of downtown. It is wonderful, and I highly recommend the 7 step ritual. Don't forget the local pools as well. We liked Sundhollin, which I learned about here from a fellow poster.

We have done the Soheimajokul glacier hike. We are used to hiking/bakcpacking here in WA, and my husband is a mountaineer, and we enjoyed it. I would not necessarily call it easy, but it was not difficult. We did that the one day with Troll.

There are kayak trips you can do at Jokulsarlon, so take a look at that.

I personally like doing Blue Lagoon the day we leave to go home. It is a great way to relax before heading to the airport.

There is nothing wrong with tours, but I much prefer to drive ourselves. It is really easy to do there, especially in July. You have time, so think about it. It gives you so much more freedom and you can plan exactly what you want to do vs possibly having to settle for a tour that is close, but not quite what you want. Only you can decide though:)

We will be going to Hvammsvik on our upcoming trip (next week!) so I can share my thoughts on that when I return. This will be our 5th trip:)